Alongside the rumors about technical features and a possible redesign, the price of the iPhone 7 is also a major point of discussion.
$100 discount for iPhone 7?
Apple has struggled with its iPhone pricing strategy in recent years. Sales of the iPhone 6s were fairly lackluster due to high prices and a relative lack of technological advances, and Apple revenues declined in Q1 2016. Now a number of analysts are predicting sluggish sales for the iPhone 7, which is predicted to be launched in September.
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A recent report in The Wall Street Journal claimed that the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will not be available in a 16GB variant. Instead the next generation smartphones will start with 32GB of internal storage as the most basic option. This rumor has previously been reported by other sites but the WSJ is by far the most reputable to make the claim.
By doing away with the 16GB version, Apple may be hoping to drive upgrades among current owners of 16GB iPhones. Consumers and analysts alike have been complaining for years that the amount of storage makes the lowest tier iPhone unusable given the current data demands of apps, photos and videos. Apple may be hoping that the extra memory is another incentive for people to upgrade.
Apple facing competition from Samsung, Chinese manufacturers
One of the issues facing the iPhone 7 is stiff competition from the Samsung Galaxy S7, which launched in March 2016. In fact this is just one part of an ongoing battle between the two technology companies, which recently saw Samsung overtake Apple as the biggest selling smartphone maker in the key U.S. market.
While Samsung continues to work on its own innovations, Apple may make some important changes to the iPhone 7. Rumors abound that the headphone jack will be removed, and it could be replaced with a USB Type-C port. If not, that would leave the Lightning port for charging, audio output and data transfer.
In terms of design the iPhone 7 is expected to retain many of the same features as the existing iPhone 6s. Leaked photos purporting to show the iPhone 7 have revealed a handset with different antenna band placement, but overall it looks similar to the existing model.
Analysts unsure on future prospects
Major analysts have so far been lukewarm on the iPhone 7. However Apple has apparently ordered 72-78 million units of the new handset to be manufactured. Despite this large figure the current prevailing school of thought maintains that major innovations will come with the tenth-anniversary iPhone 8, and could include an all-glass design and OLED displays.
One thing that is for certain is Apple’s struggles in the U.S. and Chinese markets. China recently banned sales of the iPhone 6 due to a patent dispute and counterfeiters have started selling an “iPhone 7” before the official launch.
Chinese smartphone makers are also providing more competition for Apple, which is now looking at India as a potential source for growth. Only 17% of Indians own smartphones, but in a price sensitive market Apple may struggle to attract new buyers. Of course this could also be part of the thinking behind a rumored price cut.